Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
|Kumsusan Palace of the Sun|
|Architectural style||Brutalist architecture|
|Revised Romanization||Geumsusan Taeyang Gungjeon|
|McCune–Reischauer||Kŭmsusan T'aeyang Kungjǒn|
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, formerly the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, and sometimes referred to as the Kim Il-sung Mausoleum, is a building near the northeast corner of the city of Pyongyang that serves as the mausoleum for Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, and for his son Kim Jong-il, both posthumously designated as eternal leaders of North Korea.
The palace was built in 1976 as the Kumsusan Assembly Hall and served as Kim Il-sung's official residence. Following the elder Kim's death in 1994, Kim Jong-il had the building renovated and transformed into his father's mausoleum. It is believed that the conversion cost at least $100 million. Some sources put the figure as high as $900 million. Inside the palace, Kim Il-sung's embalmed body lies inside a clear glass sarcophagus. His head rests on a Korean-style pillow and he is covered by the flag of the Workers' Party of Korea. Kim Jong-il is now on display in a room close to his father's remains and positioned in a very similar way.
At 115,000 square feet (10,700 m2), Kumsusan is the largest mausoleum dedicated to a Communist leader and the only one to house the remains of multiple people. Some halls inside the building are up to 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) long. It is fronted by a large square, approximately 500 metres (1,600 ft) in length. It is bordered on its northern and eastern sides by a moat.
Access and rules
Foreign visitors can access the palace only on an official government tour. Photography, videotaping, smoking and talking are not permitted anywhere inside the palace. The palace plaza, though, is open all week, and is a venue for national rallies.
The building is accessed via an underpass adjacent to a tram stop across the road. Upon entering the building, visitors (both foreigners and North Korean tourists) have to walk over a shoe cleaning device, are asked to check all personal belongings except their wallets in a cloak room, and are given a numbered ticket to claim their belongings when leaving. Visitors proceed along a series of long travelators.
Until 2015, visitors had to emerge in a long hall with two white stone statues of the Kims bathed in soft red light. This was replaced by a 3D-styled portrait of the Kims with Mount Paektu in the background, with national and party flags flanking them. Marble arched columns line the hall. Visitors are told to stop at a yellow line on the floor and, after a few moments of contemplation, beckoned into another room. Here, they are given small speaker devices that play a narration of the Korean people's grief when Kim Il-sung died. The room features bronze-like busts of people grieving. Finally, visitors go in a lift to the top floor in the white and grey marble-walled building. They are filed through a dust blowing machine and enter the rooms with the preserved remains of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lying in state. A red rope barrier runs around the transparent crystal sarcophagus. Visitors are sent in groups of four and are told to bow at Kim Il-sung's feet, to his left, and then right side. Visitors then file into a museum room containing awards and honours given to Kim in his lifetime by foreign countries, universities, friendship associations etc. This sequence is then repeated on the lower level where a nearly identical set of rooms contain the sarcophagus of Kim Jong-il, and rooms wherein similar memorabilla of him can be seen.
Adjoining rooms are filled with some of Kim Il-sung's possessions, as well as gifts and awards he received from around the world. There are no signs or information in Korean here. Awards include degree certificates, only one of which is from a Western university: Kensington University in California. (Kensington was an unaccredited university, typically considered to be a diploma mill, which, following several years of attempts to close it, was dissolved by a Hawaiian court in 2003.)
A peace medal from Japan lies next to his "Medal 'For the Victory over Japan'" awarded to him by the Soviet Union. The room has large paintings and photographs of Kim Il-sung meeting world leaders during their visits to North Korea and during Kim's trips abroad, such as Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Chairman Mao Zedong of China, Nicolae Ceauşescu of Romania, General Secretary and Chairman Erich Honecker of the former East Germany, Gustáv Husák of the former Czechoslovakia, Wojciech Jaruzelski of Poland, Todor Zhivkov of Bulgaria, János Kádár of Hungary, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Josip Broz Tito of former Yugoslavia, Houari Boumediene of Algeria, Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania and Yasser Arafat of Palestine, as well as several former Soviet leaders, including Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev and many other well-known people including Che Guevara and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.
Death of Kim Jong-il
Following the death of Kim Jong-il in December 2011, his body lay in state at the palace for 10 days. Following this period, on 28 December 2011, the palace served as the start and end point for a 40-kilometre (25 mi) funeral procession lasting three hours. The procession marked the first day of a two-day funeral ceremony.
Reportedly, Russian experts have been brought to the mausoleum to embalm Kim Jong-il's body for permanent display in the same manner of his father and other former Communist leaders such as Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Joseph Stalin (until 1961 when he was buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis).
On 12 January 2012, the North Korean government confirmed that Kim Jong-il's preserved remains would be put on permanent display in the palace and announced plans to erect a new Kim Jong-il statue and construct "towers to his immortality".
On 16 February 2012, the 70th diamond anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong-il, the building was formally renamed the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun by a combined act of the North Korean cabinet and parliament, and the Workers' Party of Korea leadership, which was read aloud. A military parade by the Korean People's Army held that day in the palace grounds formally celebrated the occasion of its formal relaunch, preceded by a fireworks display.
After months of renovations, on December 17, 2012, Kim Jong-il's first death anniversary, the palace was officially reopened to the public in a ceremony. The preserved remains of Kim Jong-il are now shown to the public in a separate room, as well as several items related to him and documents made by him personally. The palace contains exhibits of his personal vehicles, outfits, and medals and decorations, which have now been added to the expanded collection as part of a reorganization. The wide empty foyer, formerly used in state ceremonies, was turned into a park with fountains and walkways for the enjoyment of visitors. A plaza is now at its center.
In addition to internal improvements, the palace grounds were renovated and turned into an expansive park and flower garden for the benefit of visitors. The construction and design of the park was reportedly directed by Kim Jong-un. The park grounds are open to locals and visitors alike.
On 2 April 2013, the Supreme People's Assembly on its plenary session for the year formally made a full amendment to the North Korean Constitution on the status of the palace and passed the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun Organic Law and its corresponding SPA Ordinance formally declaring the palace as a national landmark, defining its status and its mission and vision, and prepared measures to maintain it for the benefit of Koreans and foreign tourists as well as the duties of the citizens of North Korea towards this memorial edifice.
- Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
- Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
- Cihu Mausoleum
- Touliao Mausoleum
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
- The Laos National Cemetery in Xaythany, Vientiane
- Kaysone Phomvihane Museum
- Lenin's Mausoleum
- Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
- Sükhbaatar's Mausoleum
- Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum
- National Monument in Vitkov
- Agostinho Neto's Mausoleum
- Valle de los Caídos
- Pyramid of Tirana
- House of Flowers (mausoleum)
- El Museo Histórico Militar de Caracas
- Bourguiba mausoleum
- Alley of Honor
- Türkmenbaşy Ruhy Mosque
- Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
- National Heroes Acre
- Mausoleum of Khomeini
- Marcos Museum and Mausoleum
- Mansu Hill Grand Monument
- Grand People's Study House
- International Friendship Exhibition
- Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia Exhibition Hall
- Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery
- Patriotic Martyrs' Cemetery
- Seoul National Cemetery
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